Best of 2023: Jennifer Morrison on Welcome to Wrexham

Actor Jennifer Morrison, who's a director on the new season of Dr. Death, on her favorite TV show of the past year.

Docuseries are not typically up my alley, but watching Welcome to Wrexham, I got so pulled into caring about the town where it’s set. The show is about Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney (one of the creators and stars of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) buying a soccer team in Wrexham, a small town in Wales, determined to transform it. Wrexham AFC had been relegated so many times, they were no longer in the Football League, a once great team who had fallen from grace. So when Ryan and Rob bought the team, it transformed the town, which is so connected to this team, and gave people hope that it could be great again.

The way Welcome to Wrexham is edited, it follows certain characters, so the show is really about the town itself and its history. Wrexham was a coal town where there was a terrible mining accident, and its people have overcome so many hardships. So when you watch them rooting for their team, you’re rooting for them too, because of what it means to them. It really tugged at my heartstrings. The world is so intense right now; every time you turn around, there’s so much bad news, so many things in turmoil and in crisis, so many horrors that we’re all bombarded with all day. So, in the evening, before we’d go to bed, my husband and I would watch our Welcome to Wrexham episodes, just to feel good.

I played soccer in high school – I was a center and a right forward – so I understand and love the sport. I don’t follow European soccer, but I grew up in Chicago watching the Bulls and I remember how palpable and powerful that feeling was as a kid to be so proud of a team. We would watch those games and be nervous for the players, like we were on the team, too, so that sense of the town loving its team and the sense of community you get from rooting for something together is really meaningful to me. It really takes me back to my childhood, loving Michael Jordan and the Bulls, and Steve Kerr with his big three-pointer shot to win the 1997 NBA Finals.

I am such a sucker for underdog stories, and the whole town of Wrexham is an underdog in a really beautiful way, where the people have been through so much and there’s so many good, sweet folks who are hardworking, thoughtful and focused on their community. It’s all the values I feel like the world needs right now, so it’s nice to have that put in front of you. I’m a crier, usually more at things that are heartwarming than sad, so whenever someone overcomes something on the show or goes through tough times, it hits me. I cannot think of a single episode that I didn’t cry through, and it’s a cathartic cry for sure.

Ryan and Rob have done an amazing job of excavating those heartfelt stories and really giving people a sense of that town and the team, and what it takes to run the team. And to be clear, running a team is insanely hard. It’s not like they just poured some money into it and it turned around. There are so many unexpected moments and every game is way more dramatic than you expect it to be; the ups and downs and highs and lows and injuries make for great television!

I’m up to date on the show now. I couldn’t believe when we got to the end of season two that I was going to have to wait months on end for season three. I was like, “Oh no, what are we going to do now?”

When this whole thing started, I don’t think Ryan and Rob had even met. Rob had the idea to buy the team, realized Ryan might be the right person to do it with, and then they became really close friends from that experience. Another sweet part of the show is seeing their friendship develop and watching their care and investment in this town grow. I mean, Rob learned how to speak Welsh! I was talking recently to a producer who works with Rob on another show, telling her how much I loved Welcome to Wrexham. She told me, “Oh man, those guys are so invested in that town and all those people – they care about them so much!” She said Rob is so focused on taking care of Wrexham and its people. It doesn’t surprise me at all, because that’s the feeling you get watching the show. I loved knowing from the behind the scenes that they are both so genuinely invested in the town.

Jennifer Morrison< is renowned for her exceptional talent as an actor, director, and producer, as she is gearing up to unleash her creative prowess as a director in the highly anticipated second installment of Peacock’s gripping limited series <Dr. Death<. You’ll remember Jennifer from her lead roles as Dr. Allison Cameron on the Emmy Award winning medical drama <House,< Emma Swan in <Once Upon a Time<, <How I Met Your Mother< and most recently a guest-starring role on <This Is Us<. She has previously directed for various projects, including the pilot of Peacock’s <One of Us Is Lying<, <Euphoria< and the 2017 comedy-drama film <Sun Dogs<, which was also produced through her production company, Apartment 3C Productions, which was launched in 2016. In addition to her directorial work, last year, Jennifer launched the book club, <, via her production company, ,< to spotlight previously unheard voices, authors with diverse backgrounds and generally writers who would not otherwise have the opportunity to be highlighted this way.